Phoenix, Arizona (February 8, 2023) Over the last ten years, Special Olympics has visited Super Bowl Media Row, changing stereotypes and demonstrating how sports can unify the world. Special Olympics athletes and supporters have visited the Row and participated in hundreds of media interviews advocating for the need for inclusion on and off the playing field. This year, Special Olympics has partnered with sports and entertainment network FanSided to host the first-ever unified reporting team at Super Bowl Media Row, offering a Special Olympics athlete and sportscaster, to conduct interviews alongside a FanSided host. FanSided’s Matt Verderame and Special Olympics Florida athlete Malcom Harris-Gowdie are the reporting team who are covering all pre-Game news. Harris-Gowdie has worked for his local Port St. Lucie, Florida CBS news station as a special correspondent, served as a guest announcer for the St. Lucie Mets minor league affiliate and was a guest at the 2015 ESPYs.
FanSided and parent company, Minute Media, are official global partners of Special Olympics and work with Special Olympics’ programs, athletes, staff, and volunteers around the world to help end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities and further inclusivity in sports through authentic storytelling shared across their vast digital and social footprint. As one of the fastest growing platforms of sports and lifestyle digital properties, with more than 300 destinations focused on specific fandoms, including professional sports, college sports, lifestyle and entertainment trends, and more, FanSided’s mission is to tell stories that have a positive impact on communities. This mission is highlighted throughout their “Why We Play” editorial series, which features Special Olympics and demonstrates the powerful impact and awareness of inclusive storytelling.
“This first-of-its-kind unified host engagement at one of the largest sporting events of the year is truly a transformational opportunity for us. What better way for Malcom and Matt to demonstrate to consumers, decision-makers, media and influencers the importance and value of an inclusive world for all? We are thrilled to be able to break barriers and change stereotypes and bring this kind of reporting opportunity to a sports environment like the Super Bowl. I challenge other media companies to follow suit.”
Earlier this week, philanthropist, humanitarian and Players Coalition Co-founder Anquan Boldin surprised Malcom with the news he was hoping to hear all week. In a video call on Tuesday, Anquan shared, “I have some news for you. You are doing some great things as a reporter, and you are going to make history. You will be the first Special Olympics athlete to go to the Big Game as a reporter, so congratulations to you!” He added, “Hopefully I see you at the Big Game on Sunday doing some reporting!”
“I have been busy prepping for weeks for this opportunity. Although this is my third year attending Media Row with Special Olympics, it is my first one serving as a co-host with my friend Matt from FanSided. I’m so proud to be here on behalf of Special Olympics, a movement that is about promoting inclusion and acceptance for all! When I first got the call that I had been selected to go to Media Row, I was hoping I would get to go to the Big Game and have the chance to interview some of the players. My dreams have come true! So many people think that people with intellectual disabilities can’t do certain things. I’m here to prove them wrong and show them that you can achieve your dream. I’m so excited to interview fellow Special Olympics athletes, celebrities and sports legends this week. I will never forget this time in my life!”
In addition to the FanSided/Special Olympics unified host engagement at Media Row, Special Olympics will be bringing Special Olympics athletes and celebrity ambassadors and supporters to the Row to speak with media about the organization’s work in empowering the next generation of leaders, setting the expectation of inclusion in schools and the workplace, and increasing access to health care for all.
"We can all be a part of building a more inclusive world for all. Giving Special Olympics athletes like Malcom a national platform to not only share his personal story, but interview others to share their stories, is one of the best ways to promote behavior change for inclusion,” said Jason Teitler, SVP Global Communications and Brand Lead, Special Olympics. “Working with great partners like FanSided and engaging in this type of sports reporting on one of the largest and most celebrated stages in sports and entertainment, is next level storytelling.”
From June 17 – 24, Special Olympics will be hosting the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, welcoming over 7,000 athletes from 190 countries to compete in 26 Olympic-style sports over 9 days of competition. To learn more, visit: https://www.berlin2023.org.
FanSided, the ultimate home of fans, is a network of 300+ localized sites custom-tailored to serve countless sports and entertainment fandoms. Our sites and their writers are the most knowledgeable and dedicated voices of the fandoms to which they belong, allowing us to transform their passions into meaningful content. FanSided is owned and operated by Minute Media, whose other destinations include The Players’ Tribune, 90min and Mental Floss.
About Special Olympics
Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Unified Sports partners and one million coaches and volunteers in over 200 accredited Programs, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedInand our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.